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Kyle Flood Pre-Spring Football News Conference Transcript: March 24, 2014
  • Posted on March 24, 2014 9:44:56 PM
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  • OPENING STATEMENT:

    “Good evening. It’s good to see everybody again. I want to start by wishing Vivian and the ladies team good luck tonight in the second round. I was able to be at the first game and it was exciting and my daughter was very pumped up about the win in the first game and I know she’ll be keeping track tonight as well. Spring practice number one tomorrow – always a really exciting time of year for us and something as coaches we look forward to. We don’t get very many opportunities to work with the players and when we get 15 practices – which ultimately ends up being 14 because of the spring game – it’s something that we spend a lot of time preparing for and will certainly lookforward to being out there with the players tomorrow. When we get to practice number three on Saturday, we will open up that practice to the public and give them an opportunity to come out and see these players. We’ve done that in the preseason before but we haven’t done it in the spring other than the spring game so it’s a good opportunity for the public and fans come out and see the players, see how they’re progressing – some of the younger players they got to watch last year and some that they didn’t get a chance to see that I think they‘re going to be excited to see. We have 44 letterwinners returning on this team and it’s exciting. We’ve got young players but I think the difference this year is we have some young players with game experience. The winter program has prepared us to take advantage of that now as we move into spring. On another note Brian Gross-Armiento, who is still with the program, is not going to participate in the spring for personal reasons and I’ll just leave it at that. And I’m really excited to welcome back Phil Galiano. Phil Galiano spent two years in the NFL and has been here at Rutgers on two different occasions has done a great job for us in the past and comes back to us as our assistant director of player development. I think he’s going to make our program better – I think he did so in the past and he’s somebody that when first becoming the head coach I tried to keep here but  the lure of the NFL took pulled him away from us and about two years later we were able to get him back. We’re excited and really, really happy to bring Phil and Kelly and their children back with our program. Questions?”

    ON SPLITTING QUARTERBACKS’ REPS:

    “It’s hard when you have that many players vying for one job and only so many receivers to throw the ball to on a given day, only so many reps in practice to give them an opportunity. Our plan right now through the first three practices is to try to rep all of them. Within these first three practices we have to start making some preliminary decisions. It won’t be any final decisions but we’re going to rep them as much as we can in those first three practices without doing it at the expense of those other players on the field. The first two practices will be in helmets and that will help a little bit and that third practice will be in full pads. It’s not an ideal situation that’s for sure. We need to get those guys as many reps as we can so that we can make some preliminary decisions I think after practice three and then continue the process.”

    ON THE POTENTIAL OF A QUARTERBACK WINNING THE JOB IN SPRING:

    “I would never say never. I don’t know that I’ll put a time frame on when somebody can ultimately win the job. I don’t have any set times in my mind in terms of naming a quarterback this spring so I don’t think it’s something we need to do as a program. Certainly anytime you go out there topractice is an opportunity.”

    ON SWITCHING SNYDER AND LONGA AT LINEBACKER:

    “I think as we look at both of those players – we have a new coordinator and now we have a new linebackers coach and we’ve gone back through the games last season – it’s really where we think those  players can be most productive. Steve was really productive for us last season at the middle linebacker position and now he’ll get an opportunity to go into the position where Khaseem Greene played and hopefully be even more productive.”

    ON JAMIL POLLARD RETURNING:

    “Jamil was not able to perform last year and was not able to be with us. He came back to me and said ‘coach I would like to come back to the team, I think I can’ and at that point it really becomes a medical issue. Once the doctors clear him to come back, we’re excited to welcome him back. When he first came to us last year I thought he had a bright future for us. He wentthrough our winter workouts and I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen so far. But now I want to see him do it on the field. I think ultimately what we’re looking for out of all these players is consistency and performance at a high level. Now starting tomorrow there’s going to be an opportunity to show us that he can play football. Once you put a player back into the workouts – you can’t do that before the doctors clear them.”

    ON RUNNING BACKS:

    “It’s a great opportunity for Des [Desmon Peoples] and Justin [Goodwin] to carry the ball. I think we’re going to see P.J. [Paul James] do some things before the end of spring, and I don’t think we’re going to see Savon [Huggins] do things before the end of spring. For P.J., I don’t see this as much of a concern. For Savon, we’re going to have to see how he continues through his rehab process. I think long-term all four of them are going to be healthy it’s just a matter of when.”

    ON LOSING THE LEADERSHIP OF COLEMAN AND PRATT:

    “It’s the nature of college football – every year every school loses their senior class and the leadership that those guys provide. I’m really excited for Brandon [Coleman] and Quron [Pratt] for what they’re going to have an opportunity to do at the next level. I really feel like both of those guys are going to be very valuable pieces of somebody’s puzzle next year. But we think it provides an opportunity for some guys who did stuff for us last year , guys like Leonte [Carroo], Andre Patton, Ruhann Peele, and provides an opportunity for others guys – guys like Carlton Agudosi, Janarion Grant, John Tsimis – that they’re going to get an opportunity. That’s one of the exciting things and one of the really enjoyable things about spring is watching some of those players develop. Two springs ago a guy like Quentin Gause really started to jump out at us and then last year really started to play well for us in games. And now I think there’s going to be an opportunity for guys like Janarion Grant and John Tsimis who played a little bit for us in games, but are going to have an opportunity to create a bigger role for themselves like Carlton Agudosi will too.”

    ON PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS OF RETURNING REDSHIRT PLAYERS:

    “Myles [Nash] is a bigger buy than he was when he got here. He’s done a really good job of building his body and he looks really good. Kemoko Turay the same thing. Sebastian Joseph I would put in that category. I think those three players are three of the players that I was thinking of when I said that fans are going to come out Saturday to see the team. Those are three guys that they’ve heard about in recruiting but guys they haven’t seen at all last year because they were on the scout teams. Maybe the guy if you ask our strength coaches and you ask the team, because we’re not with them all the time, who had the best winter workout on the team, it might be Darnell Davis, who did a tremendous job in the weight room and in the winter program. I think the entire coaching staff is excited to see him back.”

    ON MAX ISSAKA AND SHELDON ROYSTER’S DEPARTURE:

    “Obviously both guys were suspended for the bowl game. I think they had an opportunity to move their careers on and maybe start anew.”

     

    ON THE SECONDARY:

    “I expect a great competition at corner. We’ve got one guy back there whose resume is a little different than everybody else’s in Lorenzo (Waters). We have got to find a safety. Davon (Jacobs) is back there. He has been working tremendously hard to try to have an impact for us at that position and he will have an opportunity to do that this spring. That’s one of the positions where we have got a lot of players who have played. So even though we don’t have as much experience as we would like to have, it’s not that we have a group that doesn’t have any, which is a little bit of what we had last year. I think their opportunity for their learning curve to go up will be high this spring.”

     

    ON HOW IAN THOMAS HAS BEEN RECEIVED BY THE TEAM:

    “I don’t think there has been any issue. They players welcome him back. He has fit in socially very well with the team and now he has got an opportunity to fit in back on the field. I think that, to me, is the final part of that. For somebody like Ian who hascome back to us and somebody like Jamil (Pollard) who has come back to us now, the opportunity to go out there every day and practice and compete, that’s the only way to anybody on the team to build that trust with their teammates sothat they can go there and compete every day, every play.”

     

    ON HOW HE WILL RELY ON COACH FRIEDGEN’S OPINION REGARDING THE QUARTERBACKS:

    “I think very heavily. Coach Friedgen has been doing this for a long time with a lot of success. He is the offensive coordinator and the quarterback coach, so when we sit down tohave those conversations, every depth chart decision and move ultimately is my decision, but I think when you’re fortunate enough to be able to hire somebody with his experience, it’s only natural to weigh his opinion very heavily.”

     

    ON THE ADJUSTMENT OF HAVING NEW COORDIANTORS:

    “You would love to be able to bring everybody back every year. We have had more movement at that position than I think anybody would want as a head coach. But, every time it happens, it’s an opportunity for you to go out there and bring somebody really talented into your program and somebody that you have an expectation is going to make your program better. I think the opportunity to go out there hire Coach Friedgen and bring him to our program gives us an opportunity to really make a jump offensively. Although at times we looked like were ready to make that jump the last two years, we haven’t done it consistently. That to me is what I will be looking for from the offense, from the staff, from the players, it’s consistency of performance.”

     

    ON DAVON JACOBS RETURNING TO SAFETY:

    “I think he is a very talented player. In his role at linebacker, he was really more sub-package type stuff, so he was still doing a lot of the things from a drill standpoint that would help him do it. The most important thing is we need a safety. We need to find somebody back there who can compete and help us win, so he is a guy who we feel is one of the more talented guys in our program and somebody who has been trending the right way in the offseason. I think we have got to put him in a position to give him an opportunity to go out there and win that job.”

     

    ON THE OPPORTUNITY FOR THE YOUNG OFFENSIVE LINEMEN THIS SPRING:

    “I think this is a big spring for those guys, guys like Derrick Nelson who I just saw downstairs on my way in, a guy like J.J. Denman. This is a great opportunity for them to getinto that top eight of offensive linemen that really do all of the practicing during the season. You don’t really practice 10 guys. Derrick Nelson has got a chance to solidify himself as the backup center right now. That’s a really, really important spot. If you have a guy like we were fortunate enough to have Dallas (Hendrikson) last year, so when Betim (Bujari) got hurt, we could put somebody in there and not have to shuffle the deck. It gives you an opportunity to really play in whatever level of play you can play at.”

     

    ON THE EXPECTATIONS FOR THE MID-YEAR ENROLLEES:

    “I don’t know that I put any expectations on them. My expectations for them would be about effort and learning how to play the game at a college speed. It’s a tough learning curve. I remember seeing those guys right before spring break and here you have these freshmen who a couple of weeks ago were in high school and now they’re in college. It’s not the same as coming in the summer. It’s not the same as being with your entire recruiting class. You’re not a part of the previous class because those freshmen have already bonded for a season and a summer. The rest of your class isn’t here yet. It’s one of the more taxing periods of the year. Those winter workouts are designed to build the toughness, both mentally and physically, of your football team. To be dropped into those right out of high school is not an easy thing. I’m excited at the way all of them performed through it, but now it will be again, a little bit of heavy lifting for them mentally as they entrench themselves in the system.”

     

    ON WHAT GARY NOVE NEEDS TO SHOW THIS SPRING AND HOW HAS HE BEEN THIS OFF-SEASON:

    “I’m excited about his attitude. I think he has had an excellent winter. I thought he had an excellent winter last year. So, that’s a good thing if you can put those back-to-back, it gives you a chance to get better. I think for Gary and all of those quarterbacks, the guy ultimately that becomes our starting quarterback has to protect thefootball. It’s hard to win games when you turn the ball over the way we did last year. It’s something that we put a premium on in terms of how we have spoken to the team to this point, but now we have got to put it to practice and on the practice field every day being a really good decision maker. That’s going to be critical. Ultimately, the guy who wins that job is going to have to be a really great decision maker. I think we have got more than enough players at that position who can make the throws, I know we can make the throws, but we have just got to make sure we’re protecting the football while we’re doing it.”

     

    ON YOUR APPROACH FOR THE QUARTERBACKS TO NOT PLAY SCARED TO COMMIT A TURNOVER:

    “I don’t think that will be an issue. I’ve spent a lot of time with Gary over the past couple of years and I’ve observed him in practice. I don’t see that as being an issue for him or the other players as they go out there. I think what you want to see in aggressiveness is aggressiveness in the system. If the aggressive shots downfield are coming at a time when the system dictates they come, I don’t think anybody is going to have an issue with that. I don’t expect anybody to go out there in the first 15 practices and not throw an interception. I don’t think that’s reality. It’s the decision-making process. Where did the ball go?  Why did it go there? Did it go there on time? Those are the things really that I think we’re going to evaluate more than anything.”

     

    ON HOW MUCH RESPONSIBILITY THERE WILL BE FOR THE OFFENSIVE LINE:

    “I think they have high expectations for themselves and we certainly have high expectations for them. When you have an opportunity to bring back five starters, three of which are seniors, it’s a tremendous opportunity. The teams that perform the best are the teams whose seniors perform the best. If we can get a high level of play out of the seniors in that group, it will be a good starting point for us on offense.”

     

    ON ESTABLISHING SOME NEW PLAYERS AT DEFENSIVE END:

    “I think guys like Kemoko Turay and Quanzell Lambert now will take a bigger role for us this spring. It’s going to be a really good opportunity for them to show us what they can do. There is a lot of ways to get to the quarterback. Sometimes, if you have an elite-level pass rusher he can get to the quarterback on his own. I think schematically, over the years, there is different ways to do it from a schematic standpoint as well.”

     

    ON IF THERE WILL BE ANY READ OPTION BY THE OFFENSE:

    “I think what you will see is the quarterback running in the offense. I think you’ll see some of that this spring.”

     

    ON IF YOU FEEL STRONGLY ENOUGH THAT THERE ARE THE QUARTERBACKS IN THE PROGREAM TO RUN THE FOOTBALL:

    “I think all of them athletically, they were all multi-sport athletes from high school. I think athletically, they’re all capable of doing it. I don’t think we’re going to make a living doing it, but I do think you can create some positive plays and create some schematic issues for the other team by having that in your arsenal.”

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